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Highlands Council Sells Out for $18.6 Million

Date : Thu, 25 Jun 2009 17:12:17 -0400

 

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2009 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Chapter Director

  (609) 558-9100

Highlands Council Sells Out for $18.6 Million

In a glaring and despicable move, the Highlands Council today voted 8-2 to accept PSE&G's proposal for the Susquehanna Roseland Power Line, which will cut through the environmentally-sensitive Highlands to bring dirty power from Pennsylvania into New Jersey.

The controversial vote has ethical concerns in light of PSE&G's recent proposal to donate $18.6 million to the Highlands Council. One Highlands Council member who voted for the power lines had already submitted a letter of resignation from the council.

By voting to accept the proposal, the Highlands Council is imposing serious, irreversible damage on the Highlands, an environmentally sensitive area that is critical to the health of the state's water supply. The motivation behind this power line is simply so PSE&G can import cheap, dirty power from Pennsylvania to replace the clean energy the state is exporting to New York.

"This is an outrageous abuse of governmental authority," said Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director. "It is a sell out of the public trust and undermines the purpose of the Highlands Act."

In December, the Highlands Council said the proposed power line was not consistent with the Highlands Act and identified 56 determinations of inconsistency. Now, after PSEG has proposed to donate $18.6 million to the Highlands Council, they've reversed course. This transmission line will import dirty power from coal-fired plants in Pennsylvania, drastically increasing the amount of coal-generated electricity in our grid and undermining New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act. The 180 foot towers will be dug between 40 to 60 feet down into the ground, having a negative impact on ground water and overall water quality. In order to complete the project, hundreds of acres of trees will be cut down to widen the right of way. Miles of access roads will be created to bring in equipment. While the wire from the lines alone is a threat to birds, the access roads will destroy habitats for threatened and endangered species, impact wetlands, and invite the possibility of ATVs.

"They're opened to the "Highlands" bidder," Tittel said. "If PSE&G can offer money and have their project approved, what's stopping a developer to offer money so he can build in the Pequannock Watershed?"

"I've never seen, in all my years of being involved in environmental advocacy, such a blatant quid pro quo from a regulatory agency," Tittel said.

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609.656.7612

(f) 609.656.7618

<http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org

Received on 2009-06-25 14:12:17

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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